How Did You Do That? Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revised(If you’re here for the SFR Brigade Presents excerpt from my next release Star Cruise Songbird, go HERE.)

Here’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

The snippet is from Two Against the Stars (story below the excerpt), my latest release.  Continuing on from last week where Carialle tries to help her elderly landlady. Edited slightly from the published version to fit into our rules here.

The excerpt:

Carialle sent the entity [the tree] a comforting thought and then used her power to push the insects.

Mrs. Galaganos screeched and retreated as a flood of tiny black and white insects came pouring from the ground between the tree’s gnarled roots, and out of every knothole, “I’ll get the watering robo and drown them!” She hobbled to take action, as the pet arrived to growl and make threatening noises at the invaders. His elderly mistress washed the horde off the sidewalk and into a drain, muttering imprecations against them and obviously taking great joy in defeating the hitherto unseen enemy. Carialle bit her lip hard to repress her urge to grin at the landlady’s enthusiasm, pivoting on her heel to survey the tree.

“It looks better already. How—how did you do that?” Mrs. Galaganos was staring at her.

Hastily Carialle sent a thread of her power to calm the old woman, and to help her believe the lie she was about to utter, “I heard them moving and chirping under the bark and so I thumped hard on the tree. I guess I startled a bunch of them and the others followed, like larger creatures stampeding. – you took care of the problem then.”

Mrs. Galaganos took a deep breath and patted the robo by her side, “I certainly did.”

twoThe story:

Empathic priestess Carialle has escaped the evil Amarotu Combine, but she’s hardly out of danger. Not when she risks everything to rescue a drugged man from a crooked veterans’ clinic. By lulling the clinic staff to sleep, she reveals her powers. And once again, criminals are after her and her rescuer.

Marcus Valerian, a wounded Special Forces veteran, never expected to have his life threatened by the clinic that’s supposed to help ex-soldiers like him. But when he wakes from a drugged state to find a lovely woman urging him to run–he does. In his family’s remote fishing cabin, he suffers the agony of withdrawal, soothed only by her powers.

In their idyllic hideaway, the two also discover a nova-hot attraction flaring. But can they stay alive long enough for it to become more? Not if the Combine has anything to say–they are not giving up until Marcus is dead and Carialle is their weapon

Buy Links:

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Chatting with Anthony Lemke, ‘Three’ on SyFy’s “Dark Matter”

Three_Dark_Matter_A_LemkeSometimes I get to do really fun things as part of being a scifi romance author and this past week I had a chance to talk with actor Anthony Lemke about his role as the character Three on the “Dark Matter” SyFy TV show. Here’s the beginning of the article and for the entire interview, I hope you’ll hop on over to Amazing Stories!

“One of my favorite hours of science fiction every week is Dark Matter on SyFy. Over the course of three seasons co-creator and showrunner Joseph Mallozzi (with Paul Mullie) and the cast and crew have explored concepts ranging from lost memories, time loops, self-determination of androids, blink drives, interstellar corporate wars to love and loss – high adventure served up with feeling and panache.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Anthony Lemke, who plays the character Three on the program. Our conversation was wide ranging (and fun) so let me share the highlights. SPOILERS for Season Three!

He and a group of friends are in the process of building a storefront theater in real life, where he lives, with a tight deadline, so we began by talking about acting and the theater in general and I asked if he was going to do a one act play, whose life would he choose to enact? After some thought, Anthony said probably the life of one of his own grandparents, who were in that “epic generation” born at the beginning of the 21st century and lived through amazing experiences and world wars, eventually emigrating to a new country.

Pivoting to the subject of Dark Matter and Three…..”

Annnnd please follow the link to Amazing Stories for the rest of our wide ranging chat!

Dark_Matter_cast

No Time To Waste Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

NEW RELEASE! The snippet is from Two Against the Stars (story below the excerpt). I’m continuing on from last week, where Dobkin, Carialle’s mob handler, has died in the bathroom of their cheap hotel room from an accidental, drunken fall. She was handcuffed to the bed but has gotten loose, although one cuff remains around her wrist. Edited somewhat from the published version:

Carialle swallowed hard and forced herself to go through his pockets, snagging the key to the handcuffs and his ID and credit tag. Her hands were shaking so hard it took her three tries to release the shackle around her wrist.

She took a deep breath to quell her rising hysteria – No time to waste.

Carialle unfastened a gaudy, retro timepiece from his wrist and sidled away. It took her a few moments in the bedroom to dump out the contents of his small pack, snatching whatever might be useful and leaving the rest on the bed.  She contemplated the small hand weapon for a long moment. She’d no idea how to use it but the allure of possessing a means of defending herself against those immune to her power was impossible to resist. Grabbing the shiny mini blaster, she hid it at the bottom of the pack and sealed the seams.

She straightened her spine, took a deep breath and checked the mirror to be sure there was no blood on her drab gray tunic, leggings or shoes. She hastened to the door and stepped into the hall, closing the portal behind her, keying the advisory to Do Not Disturb.

twoThe story:

Empathic priestess Carialle has escaped the evil Amarotu Combine, but she’s hardly out of danger. Not when she risks everything to rescue a drugged man from a crooked veterans’ clinic. By lulling the clinic staff to sleep, she reveals her powers. And once again, criminals are after her and her rescuer.

Marcus Valerian, a wounded Special Forces veteran, never expected to have his life threatened by the clinic that’s supposed to help ex-soldiers like him. But when he wakes from a drugged state to find a lovely woman urging him to run–he does. In his family’s remote fishing cabin, he suffers the agony of withdrawal, soothed only by her powers.

In their idyllic hideaway, the two also discover a nova-hot attraction flaring. But can they stay alive long enough for it to become more? Not if the Combine has anything to say–they are not giving up until Marcus is dead and Carialle is their weapon

Buy Links:

Amazon     iBooks     Barnes & Noble  Kobo 

Not Going To Be Used Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

NEW RELEASE! The snippet is from Two Against the Stars (story below the excerpt):

Her handler lay sprawled on the cheap imitation tile floor, a pool of blood spreading from the back of his head. He’d evidently fallen or passed out from the drugs he’d done, striking his head on the commode as he toppled. His sporadic breathing was labored and halted on a harsh exhale even as she stared at him. His head lolled to the side and his entire body went limp.

Her heightened senses confirmed Dobkin’s lifeforce had fled.

The handler’s death left her numb. He’d never assaulted her, nor beaten her, as some of the other handlers did with their charges, but he’d been casually cruel since they met. He clearly didn’t see her as a person in her own right. Indeed, not as anything but a tool to use for the Combine’s profit and his own advancement.

“I’m not going to be used for anyone else’s purposes ever again,” she said.

TwoAgainstTheStarsFinalThe story:

Empathic priestess Carialle has escaped the evil Amarotu Combine, but she’s hardly out of danger. Not when she risks everything to rescue a drugged man from a crooked veterans’ clinic. By lulling the clinic staff to sleep, she reveals her powers. And once again, criminals are after her and her rescuer.

Marcus Valerian, a wounded Special Forces veteran, never expected to have his life threatened by the clinic that’s supposed to help ex-soldiers like him. But when he wakes from a drugged state to find a lovely woman urging him to run–he does. In his family’s remote fishing cabin, he suffers the agony of withdrawal, soothed only by her powers.

In their idyllic hideaway, the two also discover a nova-hot attraction flaring. But can they stay alive long enough for it to become more? Not if the Combine has anything to say–they are not giving up until Marcus is dead and Carialle is their weapon

Buy Links:

Amazon     iBooks     Barnes & Noble  Kobo

 

 

 

Keep Going Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the
participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

I’m sharing a snippet from an older book,  Misson to Mahjundar today as it’s on sale for $.99 on into July. I decided to share a bit more from it because my new book just came back from the Editor and I have some serious work to do on it. Not quite ready to start sharing.

Continuing on where I left off last week, after Shalira and Johnny escape the room with the giant statue of the alien god and the hypnotic voices…(apologies for the ‘interesting’ punctuation to meet the rules here). Slightly edited from published version. The Mawreg are the alien empire bent on totally eradicating humanity and the statue of the god here resembled a Mawreg closely enough to trigger a bad flashback for Johnny, which is why he was so easily mesmerized in the last snippet.

Once she knew she was out of the chamber, and the pull of the voices lessened, Shalira opened her eyes, and she and Johnny leaned side-by-side on the wall for a moment. Sweat was pouring off the sergeant and his hands were shaking.

            “Are you all right?”

            Cradling his blaster as if to anchor himself in reality, he nodded, swallowing hard, “Thanks – I owe you one.”

            “I owe you more than one,” she answered, “Let there be no accounting between us.”

          “The Mawreg held me prisoner briefly, initiated their interrogation, not long enough to do real damage. Mike and a squad of operators rescued me, took down the base.” He leaned his head back, closing his eyes, “It’s a hard thing to get over – I’ve had all the standard military treatment, but I still have nightmares sometimes, which is the real reason Mike and I are retiring – I can’t do the job any more.”

            “You appear to be doing all right to me,” Shalira said, “I know what it’s like to have screaming nightmares, to not be able to remember what was done to you but knowing it was bad. You don’t owe me any explanations – the important thing is to keep going, and I have a feeling we’re both accomplished at that.”

The story:

An attempted assassination left Princess Shalira blind as a child and, now that she’s of marriageable age, her prospects are not good because of her disability. She’s resigned herself to an arranged marriage rather than face life under the thumb of her cold stepmother. But then she meets Mike Varone, a Sectors Special Forces officer sent to Mahjundar by the intergalactic government to retrieve a ship lost in her planet’s mountains. After Mike saves Shalira from another assassination attempt, she arranges for him to escort her across the planet to her future husband. She’s already falling hard for the deadly offworlder and knows she should deny herself the temptation he represents, but taking Mike along to protect her is the only way she’ll live long enough to escape her ruthless stepmother.

Mike, for his part, resists his growing attraction to the princess; he has a mission on this planet and rescuing the vulnerable but brave princess isn’t it. No matter how much he wishes it could be.

But what should have been an easy trek through Mahjundar’s peaceful lands swiftly turns into an ambush with danger around every turn. Shalira’s marriage begins to seem less like an arranged union and more like yet another planned assassination. The more they work together to survive, the harder it becomes to stop themselves from falling in love. Caught in a race against time, can they escape the hostile forces hunting them and make it off the planet?

A 2015 SFR Galaxy Award Winner

Buy Links:

Amazon     Barnes & Noble   iTunes      KOBO

canva 99cent sale

Voices in Her Mind Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the
participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

I’m sharing a snippet from an older book,  Misson to Mahjundar today as it’s on sale for $.99 in a big scifi promo (on into July). The heroine Shalira and Johnny, a secondary character, are trying to escape a local temple when they find themselves in the inner sanctum. A reader recently told me the later scenes in the book involving the god Tlazomiccuhtli “seemed almost Lovecraftian” to him (WOW!!! what a compliment), so it was on my mind. I’ll excerpt something else, newer, next week. Edited from the published version.

Johnny seemed locked into position, literally transfixed, either by the dark powers Tlazomiccuhtli wielded or his own memories, or both. Frantic with the need to move, Shalira tugged harder on the paralyzed Johnny but couldn’t rouse him from the trance or traumatic state he was in. Unblinking, he stared straight at the effigy, his body rigid.

Dizziness was overtaking her senses, whether from the smoke or the influence of Tlazomiccuhtli she wasn’t sure. Reaching a decision, she closed her eyes and took off her protective amulet. The end of the chain slipped from her fingers as if pulled and she heard the locket clatter onto the stone floor. Kneeling, Shalira swept the floor with her hands. Frustrated, she risked opening one eye and immediately felt the pull to turn toward Tlazomiccuhtli and worship him. Fortunately she caught a glimpse of her locket, shining with a pale green glow, half-hidden under a table supporting a cage of hissing snakes. Forcing herself to move away from the statue, praying the snakes couldn’t escape the enclosure, she crawled to retrieve the locket and brought it back to Johnny. As soon as she fastened the chain around his neck, he jerked and blinked, rubbing his forehead.

 

She led him out of the chamber, counting the steps and listening to the echoes, although it was hard to hear over the voices in her head, calling her to return to Tlazomiccuhtli’s embrace.

MissionToM2-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700 (2)The story:

An attempted assassination left Princess Shalira blind as a child and, now that she’s of marriageable age, her prospects are not good because of her disability. She’s resigned herself to an arranged marriage rather than face life under the thumb of her cold stepmother. But then she meets Mike Varone, a Sectors Special Forces officer sent to Mahjundar by the intergalactic government to retrieve a ship lost in her planet’s mountains. After Mike saves Shalira from another assassination attempt, she arranges for him to escort her across the planet to her future husband. She’s already falling hard for the deadly offworlder and knows she should deny herself the temptation he represents, but taking Mike along to protect her is the only way she’ll live long enough to escape her ruthless stepmother.

Mike, for his part, resists his growing attraction to the princess; he has a mission on this planet and rescuing the vulnerable but brave princess isn’t it. No matter how much he wishes it could be.

But what should have been an easy trek through Mahjundar’s peaceful lands swiftly turns into an ambush with danger around every turn. Shalira’s marriage begins to seem less like an arranged union and more like yet another planned assassination. The more they work together to survive, the harder it becomes to stop themselves from falling in love. Caught in a race against time, can they escape the hostile forces hunting them and make it off the planet?

A 2015 SFR Galaxy Award Winner

Buy Links for my book:

Amazon     Barnes & Noble   iTunes      KOBO

THE PROMO:

sf&f promo JULY2017

http://pattyjansen.com/promo/ 

Not Her Name Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the
participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

Since I forgot to mention last week that I was done with excerpts from Star Cruise: Stowaway, here’s one more after all. I’ve skipped over quite a bit of drama with saving Tyrelle’s life right after Owen finds her. Next day Owen goes to visit her in sickbay, with the pets keeping her company. It’s a relatively peaceful moment before things heat up again as both the crime syndicate and the rather ruthless Sectors authorities come after Tyrelle, the stowaway. Next week, I’ll excerpt something else.

moby_and_midorri_pets_in-space_artwork_nyssa_juneauMidorri chirruped and slithered to the floor, going to the portal, where she scratched at the door with two of her six feet.

Owen rose to let her out.

Moby promptly entered, jumping to the bed and rubbing Tyrelle’s face, arching her spine and purring loudly.

“When one leaves, the other arrives. You’re the keeper of the animals?” she asked.

“Moby’s mine –  I rescued her from kids in a rough port town as a kitten a few years ago and brought her with me to the Zephyr. Midorri belongs to the entire ship, but she spends a lot of time in the cargo bay, with Moby, hunting vermin.” He sat, trapped in the small chair, “The Zephyr’s not  infested or anything, we run a tight ship, but there’s always a few space rats.” I can’t believe I’m talking to this beautiful woman about rats.

She laughed, scratching under Moby’s chin for a moment and staring into the cat’s green eyes, “Yes, this one likes you very much and the name you gifted her. Midorri is not the other one’s name, you know, but she told me she doesn’t mind answering to it.”

stowawayThe story:

I’m really excited to release three Sectors stories that have only been available previously in anthologies, none of which are available currently. I’ve bundled them ALL into one book with the lengthy title STAR CRUISE A NOVELLA: STOWAWAY WITH RESCUE AND GOLDEN TOKEN SHORT STORIES.

Here are the story descriptions:

Star Cruise: Stowaway: A novella of 22K words, previously in the ‘Pets In Space’ anthology.
Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

Star Cruise: Rescue: A short story of 9K words, previously in the ‘Romancing the Stars’ anthology.
When a shore leave excursion goes terribly wrong for Mira Gage, a member of the Nebula Zephyr’s crew, Security Officer Clint Miltan races the clock to find her before the ship leaves orbit and abandons Mira to her fate. Clint’s got more than a professional interest in Mira, but will he be able to save her from the aliens holding her prisoner?

The Golden Token: A short story of 13K words, previously in the limited edition ‘Dealer’s Choice’ paperback anthology handed out at the 2016 RT Booklovers Convention Interstellar Bar & Grille event.
Sectors Special Forces operator Charlie McBrire had a few days to kill on a layover at Space Station 47. He never expected to find himself in the middle of a miners’ rebellion, fighting to save the life of a casino dancer he just met but can’t imagine living without.

Amazon    iBooks    B&N     Kobo

 

No Heartbeat Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the
participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

Here’s the next snippet from Star Cruise: Stowaway (blurb below).  Skipped a few sentences further describing the leaking crate. Owen has decided he’s better unseal the container. Edited a bit from the published version:

A loud click echoed in the cargo bay and the seams on the crate glowed yellow, unsealing in a smooth progression along the rim. Sure enough a deluge of liquid followed, but Embersson froze for a moment as he saw what had been inside the crate. Then he was on his knees beside the now-open container, heedless of the green cryo fluid soaking his pants, as he tried to extricate the woman who’d been illegally stored inside. She was tightly curled in the midst of the cryo tubes, and he swore again as he realized chains bound her ankles.

Carefully he disentangled her from the nonfunctioning equipment. She opened her eyes for a moment, staring straight at him with beautiful green and gold eyes before convulsing, knocking Embersson off balance. He broke the fall for both of them, holding her securely.

Midorri scrabbled across his body, gently poking the woman with her head, making mewling sounds.

Shoving the beast away with his elbow as he got to his feet, he observed the woman wasn’t breathing, “Tell Dr. Shane I need her down here now, with a crash cart,” he yelled to the AI as he laid the stowaway on the deck and checked for a clear airway. Ear to her chest, he detected no heartbeat.

stowawayThe story:

I’m really excited to release three Sectors stories that have only been available previously in anthologies, none of which are available currently. I’ve bundled them ALL into one book with the lengthy title STAR CRUISE A NOVELLA: STOWAWAY WITH RESCUE AND GOLDEN TOKEN SHORT STORIES.

Here are the story descriptions:

Star Cruise: Stowaway: A novella of 22K words, previously in the ‘Pets In Space’ anthology.
Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

Star Cruise: Rescue: A short story of 9K words, previously in the ‘Romancing the Stars’ anthology.
When a shore leave excursion goes terribly wrong for Mira Gage, a member of the Nebula Zephyr’s crew, Security Officer Clint Miltan races the clock to find her before the ship leaves orbit and abandons Mira to her fate. Clint’s got more than a professional interest in Mira, but will he be able to save her from the aliens holding her prisoner?

The Golden Token: A short story of 13K words, previously in the limited edition ‘Dealer’s Choice’ paperback anthology handed out at the 2016 RT Booklovers Convention Interstellar Bar & Grille event.
Sectors Special Forces operator Charlie McBrire had a few days to kill on a layover at Space Station 47. He never expected to find himself in the middle of a miners’ rebellion, fighting to save the life of a casino dancer he just met but can’t imagine living without.

Amazon    iBooks    B&N     Kobo

 

Not In The Mood Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the
participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

Here’s the next snippet from Star Cruise: Stowaway (blurb below). ‘She’ refers to Moby the cat:

Purring, she came to his steel-tipped work shoes but evaded his effort to pick her up, moving just out of range the way felines did, as if cats could teleport. Moby scampered toward the towering stacks of cargo then turned. Seeing he’d failed to chase her, she sat, tail twitching, head tilted, eyeing him.

“What‘s the matter with you? I’m not in the mood to throw cat toys and retrieve them right now,” Embersson headed toward the gravlift. Moby regarded the entire ship as her territory and could find his cabin for her dinner when she was hungry.

In the next minute, he nearly tripped as she rubbed his ankles, nipping at one in passing. Swearing, he caught himself with a hand to the bulkhead, “What in the seven hells is wrong with you tonight? Giving me a concussion won’t get you fed.”

Moby yowled at him and ran toward the stacked cargo again.

stowawayThe story:

I’m really excited to release three Sectors stories that have only been available previously in anthologies, none of which are available currently. (I know many of you purchased the Pets In Space anthology, which first contained STAR CRUISE STOWAWAY and thank you so much!) Along with STOWAWAY, I’ve really been wanting to get the other two stories out there for you, especially THE GOLDEN TOKEN, which was only in the  limited edition paperback we handed out at last year’s RT Booklovers Conference. So I’ve bundled them ALL into one book with the lengthy title STAR CRUISE A NOVELLA: STOWAWAY WITH RESCUE AND GOLDEN TOKEN SHORT STORIES.

Here are the story descriptions:

Star Cruise: Stowaway: A novella of 22K words, previously in the ‘Pets In Space’ anthology.
Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

Star Cruise: Rescue: A short story of 9K words, previously in the ‘Romancing the Stars’ anthology.
When a shore leave excursion goes terribly wrong for Mira Gage, a member of the Nebula Zephyr’s crew, Security Officer Clint Miltan races the clock to find her before the ship leaves orbit and abandons Mira to her fate. Clint’s got more than a professional interest in Mira, but will he be able to save her from the aliens holding her prisoner?

The Golden Token: A short story of 13K words, previously in the limited edition ‘Dealer’s Choice’ paperback anthology handed out at the 2016 RT Booklovers Convention Interstellar Bar & Grille event.
Sectors Special Forces operator Charlie McBrire had a few days to kill on a layover at Space Station 47. He never expected to find himself in the middle of a miners’ rebellion, fighting to save the life of a casino dancer he just met but can’t imagine living without.

Amazon    iBooks    B&N     Kobo

SFR Brigade Presents The Golden Token

SFRB ShowcaseOnce a month the Science Fiction Romance Brigade authors showcase snippets from new work, WIPs, cover reveals or other fun things. The link is here for all  the participants.

stowawayI just released a collection of stories from the Sectors universe in a collection entitled STAR CRUISE A NOVELLA: STOWAWAY plus RESCUE and TOKEN Short Stories. These tales had only been available in anthologies previously. (And the anthologies are no longer available.)  

One story is The Golden Token, which was for the DEALER’S CHOICE antho put together by Linnea Sinclair for last year’s Interstellar Bar & Grille event at the RT Booklovers’ Convention.  It was a paperback book handed out at the event only, never on sale, never in ebook format.

Here’s the story:  

Sectors Special Forces operator Charlie McBrire had a few days to kill on a layover at Space Station 47. He never expected to find himself in the middle of a miners’ rebellion, fighting to save the life of a casino dancer he just met but can’t imagine living without.

The Excerpt, as Charlie arrives on the station:

He was the only one waiting in the air lock to debark. Charlie glanced at the ship’s Second Officer standing by the controls. Smiling, she thumbprinted his ticket. “Thank you for traveling with us, Mr. McBrire. If you could move along into the exit tunnel—”

“Shouldn’t we wait for the rest of the passengers?” He hoisted his kitbag.

A puzzled frown crossed her face. “There isn’t anyone else. Sector 47 Station isn’t a normal stop for us, but ICC regulations require we serve stations with no scheduled service, if there’s a passenger.” She leaned close. “You should have heard the captain complaining. But the law’s the law and you’re ex-military after all, so the Line insisted.”

“It’s that isolated?” He was surprised, but then he hadn’t been in this area of the Sectors in a long time.

“The travel agent who booked you is going to get reamed, but his screw up isn’t your problem. Are you staying on the station?” Her tone suggested sympathy if he was.

He shook his head. “Passing through, making a connection with a freighter going my way. I won’t be here long enough to breathe much of their precious air.”

“Kumisarc Corporation’ll hit you up for the oxygen tax anyway,” she said.

 He walked into the tunnel, barely clearing the portal at the end before he heard the sound of the grav clamps disengaging as the spaceliner cast off. While following a trail of blinking green arrows, Charlie examined his surroundings. If this corridor was anything to judge by, the facility was huge, built for a time when the Sector had been on the frontier, the mining colonies active and the immigrants flocking to the opportunities to strike it rich. Civilization had passed this place by in the last few decades. His footsteps echoed as he trudged past closed kiosks and arrival/departure airlocks. The air was cold, metallic in his lungs.

A promising cluster of lights gleamed at the end of the hallway and he soon arrived at the only desk where a living being sat. The man barely glanced at him. “Travel docs?”

Handing over his ticket, Charlie said, “The place always this deserted?”

“You’re on the inter-sector arrival deck, not much action. You taking a census?”

 “Just curious.”

Rubbing his jaw, the clerk said, “Maybe a couple of freighters a month for me to deal with. I’m normally assigned one level up, where the miners arrive to burn through their paychecks. Up there, yeah, we see a lot of traffic. No other place to spend credits and blow off steam in this Sector.”

Now Charlie was afraid the guy was never going to shut up. Apparently he didn’t get much chance to talk to another human, and one rhetorical question had opened the flood gates of information on a subject Charlie didn’t care two pieces of space debris about.

He plucked his ticket from the man’s fingers, taking a glance to see how much oxygen tax he was paying. “Wait, there’s some mistake here. I’m not staying on the Station.”

Tongue between his teeth as he concentrated, the station agent reviewed the information on the screen before him. “You’re hopping a ride on the Centauri Dawn to your destination in Sector 46, right?”

“Yes, but she’s supposed to be docking later today.”

The clerk shrugged. “Updated info as of an hour ago. Ran into some rogue comets. She won’t be here for three days. Be glad she’s coming at all, would be my advice.” A small alarm sounded and the man held up one hand. “Hold on, this could be your lucky day.”

“I fail to see how.”

“Says here you’re arrival number one hundred for this cycle and entitled to a golden token, redeemable at the Hall of Good Fortune.” He handed Charlie a large, fake gold coin, embossed with a dragon on one side and blank on the other.

Astonished, Charlie flipped the coin over. “You must be kidding me.  Nobody uses metal money these days, not even in a backwater Sector like this.”

The other stories in this volume:

Star Cruise: Stowaway: A novella of 22K words, previously in the award winning ‘Pets In Space’ anthology.

Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

Star Cruise: Rescue: A short story of 9K words, previously in the ‘Romancing the Stars’ anthology.

When a shore leave excursion goes terribly wrong for Mira Gage, a member of the Nebula Zephyr’s crew, Security Officer Clint Miltan races the clock to find her before the ship leaves orbit and abandons Mira to her fate. Clint’s got more than a professional interest in Mira, but will he be able to save her from the aliens holding her prisoner?

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